Published in Criminal Law by Chris Eskew on May 10, 2024.

Can the spouse of a felon own a gun

Navigating the legal landscape surrounding firearms ownership can be complex, particularly when a spouse has a felony conviction.

At Eskew Law, we understand the importance of clarifying such issues to protect individuals’ rights. One of the common queries we receive is, “Can the spouse of a felon own a gun in Indiana?”

In this blog post, we aim to provide a comprehensive answer to this question, shedding light on the laws and regulations governing firearms possession for spouses of individuals with felony convictions in Indiana.

Understanding these regulations is vital for safeguarding your rights and ensuring compliance with the law. If you need further assistance or personalized legal advice, contact Eskew Law today for a consultation. Read on as we delve into this crucial aspect of Indiana’s legal framework.

¿Puede poseer un arma el cónyuge de un delincuente?

Gun laws in Indiana do not expressly prohibit the spouse of a felon from owning a firearm. But, Indiana Code § 35-47-1-7 identifies a list of people who cannot legally own or possess a handgun, shotgun, rifle, or machine gun.

The list of people prohibited from gun ownership includes anyone convicted of a crime carrying a sentence of more than one year.

Indiana law defines a felony charge as any crime for which the penalty is greater than one year in prison. Therefore, if you are a convicted felon, you cannot legally own a gun.

Tenga en cuenta que en realidad no tiene que cumplir un año de prisión para ser inhabilitado. Sólo tiene que ser condenado por un delito que conlleve una pena potencial de más de un año de encarcelamiento. 

Del mismo modo, la ley federal también prohíbe que un delincuente condenado posea un arma de fuego.

En general, el tipo de delito grave no importa según la ley federal. Los legisladores federales asumen que no se puede confiar en que una persona condenada por un delito grave posea un arma de forma segura. 

La ley de Indiana varía ligeramente de la ley federal. Mientras que los delincuentes en general no pueden obtener una licencia de armas de fuego, el Código de Indiana § 35-47-4-5 castiga estrictamente a las personas que entran en la categoría de "delincuente violento grave" y poseen un arma de fuego.

¿Quién es un delincuente violento grave en Indiana?

A serious violent felon is a person previously convicted of a violent offense or another dangerous felony. The definition of a serious violent felon includes individuals convicted of drug dealing crimes as well.

Examples of serious violent felonies include:

  • Asesinato;
  • Homicidio voluntario;
  • Agresión grave (es decir, un cargo de agresión que es lo suficientemente grave como para elevarse al nivel de delito grave);
  • Agresión con agravantes;
  • Felonious domestic battery;
  • Violación;
  • Kidnapping; and
  • Robbery.

This list is not exhaustive. Also, out-of-state convictions can meet the definition and place you in the category of serious violent felon.

Speaking with an experienced and skilled criminal attorney can help you determine if your prior felony convictions fall under this statute. 

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The charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon is a Level 4 felony. In Indiana, Level 4 felonies carry a minimum punishment of 2 years and a maximum of 12 years in prison, with an advisory incarceration term of 6 years. The punishment could include a fine of up to $10,000 as well.

Si mi cónyuge puede poseer legalmente un arma de fuego, ¿cómo puedo ser acusado de delito de posesión?

There is a significant difference in the law between ownership and possession. They do not mean the same thing. Ownership means you have title over something, like a car or a house. Possession is not ownership.

Possession is the present ability to exercise control over an item. Possession can be actual or constructive.

Actual possession means the item is on your person, or you are holding something, like a pen, when you sign your name. Constructive possession means you know an item’s location and intend to exercise dominion over it.

For example, you have constructive possession of your car when you are shopping in a store, and you have possession of your keys even when you are in the bedroom, and your keys are in the kitchen. 

Understanding the law of possession might help you understand why you could be in serious legal trouble if your spouse owns a firearm. What if the police go to your house for some legitimate reason, and while they are there, they find a gun?

The police do not have to prove you own the firearm. If the evidence shows that you know where the gun is and have the intent coupled with the ability to exercise dominion and control over it, a jury could find you guilty of possessing that gun. Even if your spouse claims ownership, you could be in trouble if you have access to it. 

Todos los estados tienen interés en proteger a sus ciudadanos de la violencia. Según estadísticas recientes, 931 personas mueren cada año como consecuencia de la violencia armada en el estado. Por ello, leyes como ésta existen para frenar la oleada de violencia con armas de fuego en Indiana. 

Curious About Spousal Gun Ownership in Indiana? Contact Eskew Law

Navigating the legal landscape surrounding firearms ownership can be intricate, especially when a spouse has a felony conviction. So, can the spouse of a felon own a gun in Indiana?

If you have questions like this about your criminal case, contact Eskew Law right away. Our firm combines a thorough understanding of Indiana law with a creative approach to solving your legal problem.

Our award-winning criminal defense lawyers are available to provide you with the strongest legal defense possible—and the best chance of avoiding a conviction. Contact us online or call us today to learn more about your rights and how we can assist you.

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Chris Eskew

Chris Eskew es el socio fundador de Eskew Law. Con más de 15 años de experiencia, centra su práctica en la defensa penal, defensa de DUI, y el derecho de familia. Chris es conocido por su dedicación a sus clientes, sus fuertes habilidades de defensa, y su compromiso de lograr los mejores resultados posibles en asuntos legales. Él es muy respetado dentro de la comunidad jurídica y se ha ganado una reputación de proporcionar una representación personalizada y eficaz.